Post-Master’s Certificate in School Psychology: FAQ

  • What is a school psychologist? 

    A school psychologist is a professional with graduate training in psychology and education who serves the needs of children, families, and schools to help all students reach their educational potential. Coursework involves the fields of developmental psychology, special education, learning, counseling, and research, to name a few. A full answer to this question is best provided by the National Association of School Psychologists’ website. If you have an interest in this field, you should find that website very informative.

    How long does it take to get a certification in school psychology? 

    For a student entering without a master’s degree, the program takes three years attending full time. However, the last year is spent in an internship on site in a school district.

    Can I take courses in the specialist program on a part-time basis? 


    If I already have a master’s degree in a related area such a counseling or special education, do I need another master’s degree in educational psychology before going to the specialist program? 

    No, you are not required to do another full master’s degree. However, there are courses at the master’s level that do relate specifically to school psychology, and you may be required to take those courses. A transcript review with your advisor will help determine which courses you may need to take at the master’s level.

    Where do students do their internships? How are internships located? 

    Students do school psychology internships full time during the last academic year of their program. Students locate the internships themselves, although a substantial amount of information about internship opportunities is on file in the department. Internships must be done in a location no more than a day’s drive away from IUP, since faculty supervisors will be visiting the site once each semester. Most students do their internships in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, or New Jersey. Almost all internship sites provide stipends to their interns.

    What type of financial support is available for students in the program? 

    Financial aid information is available from the IUP Financial Aid office. Assistantships, both in the Educational and School Psychology Department and elsewhere on campus, are available to full-time students on a competitive basis. The number of assistantships available varies from year to year. Assistantships, which require that the student work a certain number of hours per week, may cover part or all of the student’s tuition and also provide a stipend.  

    Typically, 95 percent of students enrolled in the specialist program and 67 percent of students enrolled in the doctoral program receive financial aid. Through graduate assistantships, students can receive anywhere from $2,720 to $5,440 a year in addition to a waiver for 9–12 credit hours. On average, students who receive a graduate assistantship work 8–20 hours a week, depending on the amount of financial aid received. 

    I already have an advanced degree in clinical psychology. How many courses do I have to take to complete the specialist program? 

    The answer to this question varies depending on the background of the applicant. Standards of the National Association of School Psychologists, an accrediting society for the IUP program, require supervised experience in the schools and course work in specific areas related not only to psychology, but to education and culture of the schools before one can be considered prepared to work as a school psychologist. A review of the applicant’s transcripts and internship experience would be required to answer this question.

    Are there jobs available in the field of school psychology? 

    There is currently a national shortage of school psychologists. Students graduating from IUP’s program have been very successful in finding jobs. However, geographic areas differ in their job opportunities in the field.

    How do I apply? 

    Applicants for the master’s and specialist programs are considered only once per year, in the spring. Students start as a cohort group in the fall. All application materials must be received by the Graduate School and the department before applicants can be considered. Therefore, it is wise to start the application process early. Contact Dr. Mark McGowan at if you have questions.